WO2001035173A1 - Electronic wrist watch comprising an integrated circuit incorporated in a flexible band - Google Patents

Electronic wrist watch comprising an integrated circuit incorporated in a flexible band Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001035173A1
WO2001035173A1 PCT/CH2000/000604 CH0000604W WO0135173A1 WO 2001035173 A1 WO2001035173 A1 WO 2001035173A1 CH 0000604 W CH0000604 W CH 0000604W WO 0135173 A1 WO0135173 A1 WO 0135173A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
body
wristband
characterized
components
display unit
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/CH2000/000604
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Olivier Silvant
Jacques Müller
Original Assignee
The Swatch Group Management Services Ag
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to CH2061/99 priority Critical
Priority to CH206199 priority
Application filed by The Swatch Group Management Services Ag filed Critical The Swatch Group Management Services Ag
Publication of WO2001035173A1 publication Critical patent/WO2001035173A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G04HOROLOGY
    • G04GELECTRONIC TIME-PIECES
    • G04G17/00Structural details; Housings
    • G04G17/08Housings
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05KPRINTED CIRCUITS; CASINGS OR CONSTRUCTIONAL DETAILS OF ELECTRIC APPARATUS; MANUFACTURE OF ASSEMBLAGES OF ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS
    • H05K1/00Printed circuits
    • H05K1/18Printed circuits structurally associated with non-printed electric components
    • H05K1/189Printed circuits structurally associated with non-printed electric components characterised by the use of a flexible or folded printed circuit

Abstract

The invention concerns a wrist watch whereof the components (11, 12) of the electronic clockwatch movement are mounted on a flexible film with printed circuits (10), which is itself incorporated in the band (1) by overmoulding of an insulating elastomer material. The external elements in the form of watch cases (2 to 4) are mounted sealed on the band to protect said components and cover at least a display unit (20) and an electric power supply source (15). Decorative elements (5) similar to the watch cases are distributed along the band to imitate links. Such a wrist watch can be produced with little cost.

Description

WRIST ELECTRON ICAL HAVING IT CI RCU I MPRI ME IN CORPORE DAN SUN SOFT BRACELET

The present invention relates to an electronic wrist watch comprising a flexible strap having a molded elastomeric body, an electronic watch movement including components mounted on a flexible printed circuit film, said components and the flexible film being incorporated into the body of wristband by overmoulding of the elastomer of said body, a display unit controlled by the watch movement, and a power source connected to the watch movement. The invention also relates to a method of manufacturing a wristwatch.

In the French Patent Application No. 2595480, there is provided a wristwatch of this kind, comprising a display unit LCD or the like, controlled by an electronic circuit powered by a battery or other power source electric. The components of the electronic circuit and the display unit itself are incorporated in the wristband, which is made of flexible plastic or the like by molding on these elements in the form of a flat strip of small thickness, the screen display being located in the median part of this bracelet. The battery compartment is formed in a thicker portion at one end of the strap, which may have a closure member thereof. Next to the display, it is expected more sensor control keys that are integrated inside the bracelet, but whose upper surface is flush with the corresponding face of it. The display is integrated in the bracelet because of molding it, the top of the screen should be flush with the upper surface of the bracelet for the information displayed to be visible, unless the strap is molded a transparent plastic material allowing the reading of the display. With such a structure, it is conceivable that the plastic used for the molding must be relatively soft so that the strap is quite flexible. Consequently, the coated components in this material are poorly protected against external pressures and may be quickly damaged when the watch is worn on the wrist. This may explain the fact that this kind of watch did not encounter commercial success so far.

In British Patent Application No. 1574730 there is disclosed a wrist watch whose case and band are formed of a single molded piece, for example of polypropylene, this strap being connected to the housing by tapered portions which form flexible hinges. The strap has receptacles equipped with control buttons which are electrically connected to the electronic modules mounted in the housing by a printed circuit film, which is embedded in the plastic. The production of such shows is relatively complex because it requires the installation of multiple elements in the housing units planned in the bracelet. The invention aims to create a wristwatch in which most or all of the electronic components are embedded in a flexible bracelet, but are nevertheless protected from damage caused by external influences during normal usage of the watch . In addition, this watch should be able to be manufactured at a low cost. For this purpose, the invention relates to an electronic wristwatch of the kind indicated in the preamble, characterized in that it comprises a plurality of external elements mounted on the body of the wristband and connected to each other flexibly by the strap , at least some of these external elements being cases arranged so as to cover and protect the components of the watch movement and the display unit.

Thus, the delicate elements of the watch, namely the components of the watch movement and the display unit, are economically mounted in or on the bracelet and is protected by sufficiently rigid housings, which can be extremely simple and inexpensive while having an attractive appearance. The wristwatch may be supplemented by other external elements, for example decorative elements having a similar appearance to that of the housings and distributed along the body of the wristband.

The invention further provides an advantageous method of manufacturing a wristwatch, comprising the steps of: mounting the components of the clockwork on the flexible printed circuit film, which includes electric connection means for the to connect the display unit and the power source; then sends the body of the wristband by overmoulding on the flexible film and said components, with the exception of the connection means; then connects the display unit and the power source to said connection means and the external elements are fixed on the body of the wristband.

Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment, presented by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

- Figure 1 is a partial perspective view of a wristwatch according to the invention,

- Figure 2 is a perspective exploded view showing the main elements of the watch of Figure 1, and - Figure 3 is a perspective view and a longitudinal sectional view showing certain elements of Figure 2

The wrist watch shown in Figure 1 comprises a flexible bracelet 1 on which is mounted a row of outer members comprising housings 2, 3, 4 and 5 These decorative elements external elements are distributed along the flexible wristband 1 that the connects to one another and which comprises at its ends means not shown of conventional closure, for example a loop pin or a folding clasp the outside parts 2-5 preferably have all the same size and can be shaped to give the wristwatch appearance of a link bracelet or other fancy appearance in this example, unlike a conventional wristwatch, you do not notice the presence of a box containing all the clockwork to display, but only a mirror 6 disposed on the upper face of the casing 3 to enable to read a display unit contained in the housing's internal structure the wristwatch shown in Figures 2 and 3 of the bracelet 1 body is formed by a molded strip of electrically insulating thermoplastic material such as an elastomer and contains a flexible printed circuit film 10 which in the present example, s' extends into the area covered by three casings 2, 3 and 4, in particular for electrically connecting the watch elements which are covered by these housings on this film 10 are mounted most and preferably all of the components of motion of watches, which for example is seen a quartz resonator 1 1 and an integrated circuit 12 in Figure 2, the area covered by the housing 4 will be noted that in this area the top of the elastomer, indicated by reference 13 in Figure 3, has been removed in Figure 2 so as to show the parts 1 1 and 12, but in reality they are coated in the elastomer

In the area covered by the housing 2, a cavity 14 is formed in the upper portion of the elastomeric strap for receiving the lower portion of a battery 15 serving as an electrical power source of the watch The flexible film 10 has printed circuits comprises in this area two contact strips 16 and 17 that emerge in the recess 14 to bear against the corresponding poles of the battery 15 and connect the latter to the printed circuits

In the area covered by the housing 3, the flexible film 10 has a connecting tab 18 provided with conductor tracks 19 for connecting the printed circuit to a display unit 20, preferably constituted by a liquid crystal display cell L unit 20 is not incorporated into the elastomer body of the bracelet 1, the connecting tab 18 emerges from the elastomer and is preferably folded over to be secured to the edge of the unit 20 on the control contacts of the cell, for example by means of an anisotropic adhesive. In the example shown, the tab 18 extends laterally from the flexible film 10, but it could be provided as to extend longitudinally. While the housings 2 and 4 are fully closed above and on the sides, the center housing 3 has an upper opening 22 in which the glass 6 is mounted by means of a seal 23. Furthermore, the housing 3 or one of the two housings 2 and 4 is equipped with a pushbutton 24 for controlling various functions of the watch, in particular the setting time, via the tracks 19 of the tongue 18.

The casings 2, 3 and 4 are open at the bottom and shaped so as to overlap the body of the bracelet 1, against which they are supported in a sealed manner through the fact that the compressible nature of the elastomeric allows it to act as a seal. To locally increase the compressibility, the body surface of the bracelet has a bead 26 on its upper face and its lateral faces, facing the surfaces of the housings 2-4 leaning against the bracelet. Each of the housings 2 to 4 is fastened to the strap 1 by means of a respective bottom plate 27 provided with holes through which pass screws 28 passing through holes 30 of the strap and engaging in the side walls of the housing . This will tighten the body of the bracelet 1 between the plate and the housing to ensure water resistance.

Decorative elements 5 overlap the body of the bracelet 1 as the housings 2 to 4 and are clamped thereto by means of a respective bottom plate 29. As there is no concern of sealing in this case, fixing the plate 29 to the decorative element 5 does not need to be made by screws and can also be performed, e.g., by gluing or clipping. It could also provide that the decorative elements have an annular shape and are threaded on the body of the bracelet 1.

The housings 2 to 4 and the decorative elements 5 can be made of any rigid or semi-rigid, such as parts of molded or injected plastic material, in the case of a watch inexpensive. They may have a rectangular shape or other, depending on the desired aesthetic effect, and the same or different sizes. Note that the invention allows to gather under the enclosures 2-4 all delicate watch components and thus protect against shocks, pressures or outside influence that might damage them. The flexible film 10 is not completely protected by the housings, but its coating with the elastomeric material of the strap 1 itself provides sufficient protection between the housings. It is also noted that the housing 2 containing the battery 15 can be easily disassembled to allow to replace the battery.

With the structure described above, the wrist watch can be manufactured by an inexpensive method. Preferably, the flexible film 10 to the integrated circuits is obtained by cutting a strip having a large number of these circuits. The components of the watch movement are mounted on the film, either before or after cutting of the strip. Then carried out the overmolding of the elastomer body of the strap 1 on the film 10 with electrical components, protecting the connection tab 18 and the contact strips 16 and 17 so that they emerge from the elastomeric body. If necessary, the molding can be carried out in several stages, in particular to facilitate the positioning of the flexible film into the mold and / or the incorporation of reinforcing elements such as a son or textile strip forming a core of the bracelet. The molded body may comprise protruding elements for holding the display unit and the battery, for example by clipping. The display unit 20 may be connected to the tongue 18, before the molding, or after. Then just set up the stack 15 in the cavity 14 and mounted on the bracelet housings 2 to 4 and decorative elements 5, and proceed further mounting wrist strap buckle if necessary. It is understood that this method of manufacture can produce the wristwatch in an automated manner to the maximum and at a very low cost.

In the context of the present invention, the construction described above may be subject to many variants. The display unit can be of any type, including the analog type stepper motor. The battery serving as a power source may be replaced by any other suitable delivery system, for example solar cells or micro-generator driven by the movements of the wearer of the watch. The housings protect the components of the watch movement, the display and the battery can be more or fewer. In particular, there can be several displays spread across multiple enclosures if the watch includes various additional functions. There may also be several buttons, and these can be arranged either on the boxes or in the body of the bracelet itself, for example by being embedded in the elastomer. Of course, the decorative elements 5 are not essential in the context of the invention.

Claims

RESELLS ICATIO NS
1. electronic wristwatch comprising:
- a flexible strap (1) having a molded elastomeric body;
- an electronic watch movement including components (11, 12) mounted on a flexible printed circuit film (10), said components and the flexible film being incorporated into the body of the wristband by overmoulding of the elastomer of said body;
- a display unit (20) controlled by the watch movement; and
- a power source (15) connected to the watch movement; the wristwatch being characterized in that it further comprises a plurality of outer members (2 to 5) mounted on the body of the bracelet (1) and connected to each other flexibly by the bracelet, at least some external elements being cases (2 to 4) arranged to cover and protect the components (11, 12) of the watch movement and the display unit (20).
2. Wristwatch according to claim 1, characterized in that the power source comprises a battery (15) and in that one of the outer members is a housing (2) arranged to cover said battery.
3. Wristwatch according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the housings (2-4) are applied sealingly against the body of the wristband, the elastomeric material provides a seal.
4. Wristwatch according to claim 3, characterized in that the body of the wristband includes, facing each case, a shallow bead (26) arranged to be applied in sealed manner against the housing.
5. Wristwatch according to claim 3, characterized in that each housing (2-4) is arranged to overlap the body of the wristband, to which it is clamped by means of a bottom plate (27) disposed under said body.
6. Wristwatch according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in that some external factors other than said cases, are decorative elements (5) distributed along the body of the wristband and connected to each other flexibly by the bracelet.
7. Wristwatch according to claim 6, characterized in that each decorative element (5) is arranged to overlap the body of the wristband, to which it is clamped by means of a bottom plate (29) disposed beneath said body.
8. Wristwatch according to claim 1, characterized in that the flexible printed circuit film (10) comprises a connecting tongue (18) provided with conductive tracks (19) for connecting it to the display unit (20 ) and in that said tongue emerges outside the body of the wristband.
9. Wristwatch according to claim 1, characterized in that the flexible printed circuit film (10) has two contact strips (16, 17) for connecting it to the power source (15) and in that said strips emerge outside the body of the wristband.
10. A method of manufacturing a wristwatch according to one of the preceding claims, comprising the steps of:
- is mounted components (11, 12) of the watch movement on the flexible printed circuit film (10), which comprises electrical connection means (16, 17, 18) for connecting it to the display unit (20) and the power source (15);
- the body of the wristband is made (1) by overmoulding on the flexible film and said components except for said connecting means; and
- is connected the display unit and the power source to said connecting means and fixed on said outer elements (2 to 5) on the body of the wristband.
PCT/CH2000/000604 1999-11-11 2000-11-13 Electronic wrist watch comprising an integrated circuit incorporated in a flexible band WO2001035173A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
CH2061/99 1999-11-11
CH206199 1999-11-11

Applications Claiming Priority (5)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
JP2001536642A JP4763200B2 (en) 1999-11-11 2000-11-13 Electronic watch including a printed circuit embedded in a flexible wristband
US09/869,971 US6619836B1 (en) 1999-11-11 2000-11-13 Electronic wristwatch including a printed circuit incorporated in a flexible wristband
DE2000640268 DE60040268D1 (en) 1999-11-11 2000-11-13 The electronic wrist watch with a, in a flexible bracelet, built-in circuit board
EP20000972529 EP1145085B1 (en) 1999-11-11 2000-11-13 Electronic wrist watch comprising an integrated circuit incorporated in a flexible band
HK02105653A HK1044199A1 (en) 1999-11-11 2002-07-31 Electronic wrist watch and the methode of manufacturing the same.

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2001035173A1 true WO2001035173A1 (en) 2001-05-17

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Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/CH2000/000604 WO2001035173A1 (en) 1999-11-11 2000-11-13 Electronic wrist watch comprising an integrated circuit incorporated in a flexible band

Country Status (7)

Country Link
US (1) US6619836B1 (en)
EP (1) EP1145085B1 (en)
JP (1) JP4763200B2 (en)
CN (1) CN1175328C (en)
DE (1) DE60040268D1 (en)
HK (1) HK1044199A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2001035173A1 (en)

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CN1175328C (en) 2004-11-10
JP4763200B2 (en) 2011-08-31
JP2003514231A (en) 2003-04-15
DE60040268D1 (en) 2008-10-30
CN1337016A (en) 2002-02-20
HK1044199A1 (en) 2005-08-05
EP1145085B1 (en) 2008-09-17
EP1145085A1 (en) 2001-10-17
US6619836B1 (en) 2003-09-16

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